My book, The Cooperative Economy, offers a solution to societal grand challenges such as economic inequality.
In the past few decades, and especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, the rich have become richer while the poor have become poorer. For example, in the United States, three individuals possess wealth that is greater than that of half of the population. Whereas the income share of the affluent has increased, their tax liability has declined, in part due to regressive taxation and in part due to tax evasion. Economic inequality has been related to shortened life expectancy and illness as well as to corruption and political instability. The middle class in Western society has witnessed the sharpest decline in purchasing power.
Several approaches have been pursued to combat economic inequality. However, although the United Nations has recognized the importance of reducing inequality and ending poverty and hunger, governments have shifted the tax burden from rich corporations to families. The international agreement on minimum corporate tax rate that was signed in October 2021 is insufficient for stopping this trend and preventing tax evasion. Some public welfare programs have only reinforced inequality by depriving the needy from opportunities to become economically independent. Labor unions have lost membership and power under flexible employment regulation, while technology development has benefited capital owners rather than employees. Thus, economic inequality persists.
I am thrilled to announce that my new book: “The Cooperative Economy: A Solution to Societal Grand Challenges” published by Routledge, is now available for order.
The book centers on grand challenges relating to the concentration of wealth and economic inequality, the dominance of Big Tech firms, the loss of privacy and free choice, and the overconsumption and abuse of natural resources, which have been reinforced by globalization. In this book, I make the case that traditional remedies such as regulation, legislation, and government and corporate policies have fallen short. In my quest for a solution, I identify the root cause of these problems in the nature of the modern economic system that reinforces opportunistic behavior. I conclude that this system is unfixable, so we should focus on designing a new economic system, namely the cooperative economy, which is instituted on alternative principles that drive prosocial behavior rather than opportunistic behavior.
But what should be the design principles for the cooperative economy? The proposed cooperative economy is an ethical community-driven exchange system that relies on collective action to promote societal values while accounting for resource constraints. Unlike our current economic system, it moves away from a materialistic orientation and follows a more balanced perspective that leverages prosocial behavior. The book explains how this new system promotes self-sufficiency of communities, sustainability and entrepreneurship while limiting overconsumption and excessive profit-making. It enhances economic equality by using price subsidization and by restricting salary differences. The book describes how the system serves the interests of consumers, vendors, and employees while preventing the accumulation of power by platform owners.
The book revisits long-held assumptions, offering food for thought and a plan for concrete action. You will find interest in it if you are concerned about the future of our planet and society.
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I have not been active on social media, probably because I felt that I had nothing important to say. This has changed now.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, I barely left my tiny home office. The solitude led me to ponder existential questions. The suffering of deprived populations and the individuals who lost their jobs amid the pandemic made me think about the challenges that our society faces and will continue to struggle with beyond the pandemic. The pandemic seemed to have worsened the ramifications of economic inequality. With the transition to the virtual workspace and online shopping, the Big Tech firms have grown to dominate many spheres of life. Then, in April 2021, I had an insight: an economic model that is quite distinct from our current economic system, but well aligned with the principles that have been advocated by spiritual guides throughout the history of humankind. To my disappointment, I concluded that I have spent the past couple of decades making great strides in the wrong direction. This insight prompted me to reverse my research agenda and focus on the fair distribution of value rather than on strategies for its accumulation.
In September 2021, I started my sabbatical at Imperial College London, spending most of my time working on a book that describes the problem and the solution. As I elaborated my ideas, I realized that this book not only challenges the consensus in the field of strategic management but also revisits long-held assumptions in the economics discipline. Unlike most of the research on societal grand challenges that calls for traditional remedies such as regulation and legislation that could fix the flaws in our economy, my conclusion was that our economy is unfixable. I admit that offering an alternative economic system can be perceived as radical, but I found it a simpler solution than tampering with the current system that was designed to support the concentration of wealth rather than its distribution. My book, The Cooperative Economy, will be available for pre-order from Routledge in January 2023.